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Machinists set up and operate precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders to make and repair products made from metals, non-ferrous materials (materials that do not contain iron) and new alloys.

  • Avg. Salary $67,602.00
  • Avg. Wage $32.31
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 6,000
  • In Demand Medium
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Machinists (7231.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors (H311) 
  • 2011 NOC: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (7231) 
  • 2016 NOC: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (7231) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Machinist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in setting up and programming machine tools for use by machining tool operators when required


Interest in performing precision machining operations such as sawing, turning, milling, boring, planing, drilling, precision grinding and other operations, and in planning best sequence of operations


Interest in compiling information to verify dimensions of products for accuracy and conformance to specifications using precision measuring instruments

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 07, 2017

Machinists work according to very precise specifications. When there are no prints or other specifications, they determine dimensions by logic or by measuring samples using instruments such as micrometers and vernier calipers. Measuring instruments or machine tools can be controlled electronically and may require skills in programming and operating.

To perform a typical machining task, machinists:

  • study specifications, charts, drawings or sample parts to determine the machining operation to be performed
  • calculate dimensions and tolerances, and prepare working sketches if necessary
  • measure and mark metal and other materials 
  • set up and operate tools, which may be computer numerically controlled, to perform precision machining operations
  • fit parts to mechanisms and verify dimensions.

Machinists must understand the effects of heat treatment on metals and be skilled in heat treatment processes.

Machinist may make a variety of repairs to equipment or new parts for small medical devices to heavy industrial equipment. In production type facilities, a machinist will typically manufacture parts using automated equipment called Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. CNC machining, along with other machine tools, are commonly utilized for manufacturing parts in high numbers in mass production facilities.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Shops often have a higher than normal noise level and can be dusty. The use of petroleum products and chemicals is common practice. Machinists often stand for long periods of time and may work in a rushed environment. They work a 37.5 to 44 hour week, usually five weekdays, but may be required to work overtime in emergency situations. Night or evening shifts are common in some shops. 

Machinist may be required to work on conventional machines; however, it is becoming more common that they use CNC machines.

Machinists may be required to lift and move items that weigh over 20 kilograms. There may be a risk of injury when working with high speed machinery and sharp metals and tools.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Machinists need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to use their hands skillfully and quickly
  • mechanical ability
  • good mathematical skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • problem solving skills
  • the ability to estimate and measure sizes and distances accurately
  • the ability to work independently at tasks that require concentration as well as physical effort
  • basic computer skills.

They should enjoy doing creative work with machinery that requires a high degree of skill and precision. 

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 07, 2017

To work in Alberta, a machinist must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2, Math 10-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or a pass mark in all 5 GED tests, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Basic computer knowledge is required.

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12-month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Machinist apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 07, 2017


Machinists set up and operate precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders to make and repair products made from metals, non-ferrous materials (materials that do not contain iron) and new alloys. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta's Tradesecrets website.


Under Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act and Machinist Trade Regulation, you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

What You Need

The term of apprenticeship for apprentice machinists in Alberta is four years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training in each year. Apprentices must find suitable employers who are willing to hire and train apprentices, and successfully complete technical training examinations.

Working in Alberta

Machinists trained in other provinces and territories can work in Alberta if they hold a certificate or license recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board or have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified in Alberta. For more information, see the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on "Contact Us" on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Machinists are employed by companies that manufacture or repair equipment. They may work in either job shops or production shops.

In job shops, they make a wide variety of replacement parts for many different types of machinery and industrial equipment. In production shops, they manufacture parts using mass production methods.

Experienced machinists may advance to positions such as inspector, foreman or superintendent or CNC programmer. Some machinists start businesses of their own. Alberta certified journeyperson machinists who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Machinists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7231: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (in some industries)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 4,400 Albertans are employed in the Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors occupational group. This group is expected to have an-above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 79 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As machinists form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for machinists. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $28 to $34 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice machinists earn at least 55% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 65% in the second, 75% in the third and 85% in the fourth.

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.50 $38.34 $26.65 $24.00
Overall $24.00 $40.00 $32.31 $32.80
Top $26.00 $48.50 $39.04 $39.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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